Friday, May 16, 2008

Who-ray For Norway Day

Tomorrow it will be my singular pleasure to celebrate yet another 17th of May, Constitution Day with my adopted countrymen and women.

Woo Fucking Hoo

I’ve never much liked 17. Mai (pronounced soot-en-eh my), except for the bunads. I like the bunads; they’re fun to gawk at. Truth be told, I kind of want one for myself because I think they make chicks look hot—hot in a repressed yet buxom, puritanical sort of way, but still hot. Other than that, 17. Mai =big, fat yawn in my book.

We, like every other family with school-aged children, will be contenting ourselves with passing the business end of 17.Mai—the parade (they call it a parade, but I assure you, it’s nothing like; it’s really just a drab procession of bunad clad families walking down the street waving flags and congratulating one another on being Norwegians), the speeches, the carnival games, the over priced helium balloons and cotton candy—at the kids’ school. Again I say, Woo Fucking Hoo.

If you don’t have kids, or your kids are all old and grown, according to the standard issue The Good Norwegian Citizen’s Guide to Good Norwegian Citizenry, you’re expected to head into the nearest city center, where you will spend your day jostling enormous crowds for a glimpse of the parade (same sort of procession seen at the local schools only bigger, and therefore longer, and infinitely more dull), and searching (largely in vain) for the tiniest of café tables and the chance to ease your bloodied and blistered feet out of your dress shoes. Then, if you’ve been doubly lucky enough to have caught the attention of one of the two working waiters on duty, you may hunker down in this prized spot with a pint of beer and a plate of fenalår, and observe (in a good-humored, non-judgmental fashion) the loud antics of the hordes of drunken teenagers. For it is further noted in The Good Norwegian Citizen’s Guide to Good Norwegian Citizenry that if you are a child you are expected to spend the day gorging yourself silly on bowel shaking quantities of ice cream and cotton candy, and if you are a teenager you are expected to spend it drunk off your ass. It’s a patriotism thing. Apparently, it’s how you express love of country in Norwegian.

And speaking of patriotism, I’ve been getting quite a kick out of how much effort good Norwegian citizens put into their 17. Mai preparations. Yesterday Boy and Missy’s barnehage spent two hours of their afternoon marching around the soccer field shouting “Hurra for 17. Mai! Hurra for 17. Mai!” Then the teachers would go “Hip hip!” and the kids would go, “Hurra!” Teachers, “Hip hip!” Kids, “Hurra!” And so on and so forth. Apparently it took them two hours to get this liturgy down pat.

Today Elder Miss’s entire school dedicated their entire morning to much the same thing: marching about the school grounds, shouting socialist propaganda at one another, and working hard to get just the right amount of snap in the flip of their waving flags. All morning they worked on this.

And I’m thinking, “Lookit citizens—a lawn chair, a bucket of chicken, and a cooler full of ice and beer. Keep one semi-intelligent adult semi-sober enough to light the sparklers after dark. And that’s your Independence Day. Done.”

All this fuss and bother over a constitution that only granted them partial sovereignty anyway. Woo Fucking Hoo.

Oh well, at least the girls are going to look fabulous in their bunads. I’ve had Farmor ironing them all evening while I swill beer and type at you fine people.

Gratulerer med dagen!


jillybaby said...

Damn it, I completely forgot it was today! I've had such a busy alone in town for lovely things to wear...did I mention no kids.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I did enjoy my 2 experiences of 17 mai, the kids in Bunads, the killer heels ALL DAY, the chewy meat, the pissing rain (1st year), the blistering heat (2nd year) and us all getting lost with no mobile signal to be had anywhere!

It's just...well...I'm not Norwegian and I don't live in Norway so shopping was by far the better option.

Sorry JEDA, send me the photos though.

Trace said...

I don't ever want you to make the fenelar when you visit. I froze up in Bombay House once and the waiter nearly took off his turban to wrap and comfort me. Can't do lamb. I just can't do it. They gaily prance and bounce. We shouldn't eat anything that gaily prances and bounces.

myyearonline said...

hey jeda, just found your blog and thoroughly enjoying your posts. just survived my first 17. mai in norway: thankfully, Other Half isn't too patriotic either. that, and in malaysia we celebrate with lots of flags, food, and er, visiting the busiest shopping centre possible! looking forward to reading more.